I am a collector by nature. It is difficult for me to walk anywhere in a direct fashion. I stop every few minutes and pick up leaves, seeds, trash that inspires art, items that will end up in the ocean if I don’t recycle them.
A friend made a comment the other day that she would expect my apartment to be more like that of a hoarder. She has walked between the Boott Cotton Mill Museum and the Visitor Center enough times to anticipate that there will be frequent pauses along the way.
I am well aware of my tendency to collect, so I try to keep it in check by periodically engaging in a collection catharsis. It helps to move on a regular basis, too. I recently calculated that I have moved seven times in the last two and a half year.
Thus, the purge continues at my apartment in Lowell. In an effort to reduce the vast quantity of unnecessary stuff in my life, I have moved from my clothing and book collection to my file cabinet. Scary stuff!
In the midst of this most recent cleansing ritual, I found a bright, orange folder with the words “le mouvement de marieke,” written in black ink on the subject tab.
This folder once held a series of documents with the title “Moving Marieke Forward” in bold, underlined letters. The documents were from a performance appraisal at a former job that didn’t go so well.
The experience represented by the folder reminds me of when students in a class all do poorly on a test. The teacher blames the students rather than wondering what they might have done to improve their own teaching skills.
Being particularly fond of words and language and with the benefit of time and distance to heal, I can now spend some time reflecting. I find these words fascinating and also worthy of attention in thinking about self-sustainability, which is the focus of my dissertation.
I think that from the beginning of my time on this planet, I have preferred to be in control of my own movement, even if my choices put the people around outside their own comfort zone.
In hindsight, I wonder if I translated those words I found so offensive into French in order to establish some small locus of control during a time when I felt I had very little. I also changed the sense of the phrase from an outside force pushing or forcing me forward outside of my own will to “the movement of marieke.” This was a time of growth. And as with some of the most meaningful, long lasting lessons, it was a painful time. In the spirit of purging, I had already recycled the documents the folder once held. This time, I recycled the folder, too.
I have noticed that I have begun to engage in two kinds of purging. The first is a traditional effort to rid tangible space of tangible items so I do not feel overrun and overwhelmed by material possessions.
The other form of purging is one of an intentional, spiritual nature. I dispose of those items that hold dark energy I do not want to have around as a visual or energy reminder. In this ritual, I make symbolic gestures to cleanse the space I physically inhabit, as well as a psychological and energy inner ‘scape, a space of mind and body.
Thus far been focused on smaller items. However, I am beginning to wonder if I need to attempt some form of energy work or Reiki on my vehicle. It has been victim to six freak incidents over the past year, from October 2011 through October 2012. It could be that the fairies had taken up residence in my material realm and this most recent hit during Hurricane Sandy was simply a last hurrah before they moved on October 31st.
I had thought strange events occurred in a series of three. If this is the case, I have now experience two sets of the strange three in connection with my poor, wee Prius. My neighbor recommended a Prius exorcism, but a close friend who has experience in this realm cautioned against a novice attempting to perform such work because there is risk of releasing the demon from my car and having it travel to the closest body—mine. I can’t say that this sounds enticing at all.
What to do? My poor car is suffering, as is my bank account.
I know this sounds really “woo woo,” but it is not like I am burning incense and cooking things in a cauldron on my stove. It is more the gesture and what it means for me to let these things go. It is an intentional act, and the behavior itself has meaning. By disposing of these items—forms, cards, pictures, trinkets, clothing—I am not forgetting the lessons I learned from painful times or interactions with people who had an abusive or negative influence on me. I am just expressing a need to be free, to let that energy out of prison and relinquish my role as prison guard. It is my own marieke version of energy work a purging of the tangible and intangible relics of my life.
To the untrained eye, it may seem like insignificant “spring cleaning,” but it is a statement that I am in control of my spiritual destiny. What I have been learning over the past several years in the Prescott PhD program is that despite many times when I have felt that I have little control, I always have control over the path I follow and the way I engage and respond to difficult events in my life. And I have the ability to choose whether to stay or go.